February 9, 2015
Russia’s economy is in a downward spiral, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s going poorly for everyone. There is however one particular Russian brand’s continued success, despite the nation’s economic “crisis.”
In the past few months, the world has been watching Russia’s economy suffer from plummeting oil prices and sanctions. Many Russian businesses have suffered greatly as a result, but the manufacturer of the world famous AK-47 assault rifle is not having any of that. Kalashnikov is doing well, doubling production in 2014 and posting $45 million in revenue, up 28% from 2013. Better still, the company has posted a net profit for the first time in seven years. Right, and this is all happening IN SPITE OF the fact that Kalashnikov was one of the first companies hit with sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine.
How is this possible? Well, Kalashnikov decided that, if they couldn’t sell in one place, they would look for other options. And that strategy has paid off in spades. Instead of fretting over sanctions and a lagging economy, Kalashnikov worked on opening up new markets in Africa and Asia, pursuing regions with huge demand and insufficient supply.
Add to this strategy an already rock solid reputation for making a strong, reliable product that nearly anyone can use with very little training, and you have a sure recipe for success.
The PR lessons here are multifaceted. First, Kalashnikov was ready. They had spent decades building a solid reputation with current and prospective customers. Further, the brand always kept a close eye on emerging markets. Then, when the moment came when the risk was mitigated by the potential return, they were ready to surge forward. Because strong public relations allows you to skip much of the sales process, the company did not suffer from the loss of business in other areas. They just stepped into new markets and thrived. Why? Simply put, they were respected, and they were prepared. What about you?